The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Saturday, February 28, 2004


The lasagne turned out great. All the kids enjoyed supper. Jake and I finished it off today.

I spent most of the day getting the furniture back on the freshly painted porch. As part of the decor, I potted a Sambac Jasmine into Afghan pot, an Aglaonema into Teapot pot and a Spathiphyllum into an adobe style mosaic pot.

I am looking forward to doing a repair job on a trivet for my aunt.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

A Busy Time in Downtime 

Events Missed while the Computer was Down...will fill in this outline as soon as I can...

Finished week 3 of How to Look at Art
Moved out of my old gallery, pondered a move to a new one
House painters showed up
Toilet repair people showed up
Finally had to give in and go back for more medical testing aka vivisectionism
Got my book on Bluemner.

Helen, Ian and Ricky are due in tomorrow for Spring Break. I am cooking a lasagne.

The weather has been miserable.

Details to come.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Back but Limping 

Back up but still restoring basic info. Will probably catch up by late tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Broken computer 

MM's computer is in the shop. No posts for a while.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


At last night’s session of “How to Look at Art”, Arthur started talking at 6:45pm and didn’t stop until 9:10pm. No breaks, no potty, no cigar, no stretch out of those tortuous chairs. Did somebody give him coffee? What happened?

We learned a lot about prints. Arthur started on that portion of his monologue about 8:30pm; but if I had gotten hold of the information before that I’d have ditched earlier.

The first print was so small, and God forbid they might actually turn some light on in the room so you could see. It was a boring etching from the early 1900’s.

However, the second print was a Salvadore Dali print worth hanging around for. I’ve got to say it was impressive. It was a complicated depiction created for the 20th anniversary of the founding of Israel. It was loaded with religious and political symbolism.

Arthur had this nuveau riche chickie in a mini skirt do a critique of the Dali for the class. What does she say? “It’s pretty. I like the red flowers.” If she had any more collagen in those lips, they would explode; but it was apparent that Arthur’s lectures for the past 3 weeks about suspending opinion had gone over her head. Then again, never mind.

We next get to observe a woodcut that is 6 ft. tall by 3 ft wide. It makes me wonder about paper technology. I am obviously not hip to this art analysis jazz. The student asked to give the analysis is stumbling over how to describe the flaming penis at eye level, central to the whole work. For God sake, you don’t need a PhD in art to figure THAT out!

The best part of the night was yet to come. We got lost trying to get home and wound up in Eatonville. But once we got home I got on the computer and had a blast.

My sister let me clean out her e mail box. This was fantastic. She had 1680 e mails. It was great stuff like Viagara, improve your organ size, pharmacy discounts, security alerts. I had heard about spam like this but I had never seen it or tried to manage it.

The e mails were coming in so fast, I couldn’t delete the batch because the ordering would change every few minutes. So working 8 or 9 e mails at a time, I managed to delete 39 pages of spam. It was kinda like playing a video game.

Out of 39 pages, I found 2 pages worth of legitimate mail. Holy Moly!

Here is a print Salvadore Dali made depicting Mosaic Mom cleaning Spam out of the E-Mail

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Schlepper and Schleppee 

At the first lecture on "How to Look at Art", Arthur singled me and Jake out. In front of the whole class he said I was a schlepper and Jake was the schleppee. For those of you unfamiliar with Yiddish, Arthur means that I drag Jake around to museums against his will. It was a nasty depiction and not true and something I shall not forgive. I will vote as they say with my dollars and my pocketbook.

Arthur though was right. I did once pay for a school bus so that a busload of students from Tavares High School could be dragged, schlepped to his little art museum to see the Cosimo Rosellini show. Oh well, I vow no more schlepping. No more support for Art's art from me.

Keep Going 

When I started going to the YMCA, I was terribly overweight. I would huff and puff as I waddled across the parking lot to attend the aquasize classes. After 30 minutes of bobbing in the water, I’d go home exhausted and nap for an hour….but I kept going.

Eventually, I could manage 2 back to back aquasize classes. I started swimming laps. First 3 then 12, then 21. Thirty six was a half mile; then one spring, I finally swam a mile! I kept going.

I swam a mile 3 times a week, then a mile a day. At the age of 50 I took and passed my lifeguard exam!

About that time, the Y lost their good aquatics director. The water quality was left to the care of teenagers who didn’t care. For the sake of my health, I stopped swimming in that pool. I decided to learn how to use the gym.

The circuit training machines were not too interesting to me, but I was fascinated with the Precor elliptical trainers. I started with 2 minutes. I’d go home exhausted and nap for an hour…but I kept going.

I worked up to 15 minutes, then 28, then 30. I increased the resistance from 4 to 8 to 12. Then I fell off a chair. My poor old knee did not want to bend for the precor. With tremendous help from Chuck Wolff, I shifted to the treadmill.

I never in my life thought I could work on a treadmill. I had to overcome motion sickness. (Tip: after the machine stops, stand still a few minutes before dismounting).
I started at a whopping speed of 1.1 for 5 minutes, but I kept going.

I made 2.8 then 3.2. I could last 6 minutes. I was able to add the Precor back; this time I used the one with ski poles to add upper body and set the resistance at 7. Ten minutes on each machine was a milepost for me. Then 15 minutes each. Then 20…each. I felt like an Olympian. I kept going.

Last Monday, Feb 9th, I made a goal I had only dreamed of. I made a 45 minute cardio workout. I haven’t been able to repeat that, but I’m going to keep going.

My ultimate goal, the “Chuck” goal, is a treadmill hike of 35 minutes at 3.5mph at a rise of 3.5. That sure looks impossible from where I’m sitting this morning, but I’m going to keep going back.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Tomorrow's blog today 

This is the Bird Bath I made for Jake. It is now visiting the gallery along with friends Mosaic Vacuum and Sparky.

Happy Valentine's Day 

Friday, February 13, 2004

My Happy Friday the 13th 

This morning I took my mosaic vacuum cleaner over to the gallery. Normally they would not want a piece like this. It is heavy, large and not a style they prefer. But there is an art show at the courthouse gallery opening today that will include mosaic sculpture. So my gallery accepted the piece if only for 1 week.

“Jake’s Bird Bath” and “Sparky” also went. Hope there is lots of interest in mosaics this week.

My secret hope is that my old mosaics teacher will see the mosaic vacuum and enjoy it. It makes every body laugh and brings smiles. I hope every one finds a happy moment with this silliness.

Then Jake and I headed out to meet Karin and Rod who are in Orlando for a long weekend. I took my sister a mosaic flamingo. She seemed to enjoy it. She certainly laughed. And no one else in the RV park had any thing like this. Another happy moment.

When we arrived home my order of wire mesh had been delivered. Now I can get started on my mosaic Christmas tree. Sheer Joy!

Last evening I had lined out and started tile application on “Crystal’s Pot”. It was looking way too flat, so Jake is going to add a welded sculpture around the middle. That is going to give it the punch it needs to be totally awesome. How I wish this pot were stable so I could carry it to shows. The ceramics are precarious though, so it will live here in our own garden.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

I know you're busy, but... 

Your Mother is a bulldog,
A bulldog with a bone,
And she is going to bite you
If you don’t pick up the phone.

She wants the tax form numbers.
She wants them fast and now.
And if you do not send them
She will bite you like dog chow.

So send the tax form numbers.
Send them nice and fast.
If she can bite the Dean-y
She can surely bite your ……

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A New Opportunity 

Yesterday I had to run yet another batch of tax returns over to the Post Office to be sent via Certified Mail. After conducting postal business and catching up on all the neighborhood gossip with the postmistress, I checked my PO Box and headed towards the door.

On the desk, where people sort their mail over the trashcan, was a flyer. There are often flyers here announcing community meetings, tent revivals and summer camp opportunities. But the word in large capital letters was "CRAFT " show.

The local ladies of the local church are having a fund raiser in April. They are inviting people to rent a table for $5.oo and sell their wares. I think I will do this. It's only the price of a Lotto ticket and it's about the same odds.

This afternoon, I set about finishing up projects on my desk. Finished painting doo-dads and pot innards. Sprayed a lotta sealer. Put the last coat of mortar on the big kerwhunka pot Helen gave me for Christmas. Then I set the stakes up into position to start making more door holders.

I sell door holders for $10.00. They are little portable thing a ma jigs that people buy on impulse, but they are also very useful.

I like useful and practical. I like merchandising and selling. For instance, I am already wondering how I am going to convince Dan that the art dept needs to sell Bluemner picture Christmas cards.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Money Day 

The gallery paid me today for the 2 pieces they had sold. I was so happy to get paid. It's not so much the dough...although I will plow it right back into more tile...but it's the recognition. Somebody outside the family likes my work. Yay! Happy Happy.

I learned a lot in Arthur's class tonight. The painter we looked at last week was Adolphe Monticelli. He was the guy Van Gogh most admired.

I learned the french phrase for "picture of people having a picnic dressed up in 16th century costumes" is "fete champs etre".

I learned that a miniature practice sculpture is a "maquette". As in you make a maquette before you make a big mistake.

I am tired after the long drives to and from Winter Park, so I will blog more about the class on "How to look at Sculpture" tomorrow.

Here is a picture by Monticelli

Monday, February 09, 2004

Sculpture Tomorrow 

Tomorrow Jake and I go to Rollins and get taught "How to Look at Sculpture". At last we will gain perspective about what Helen does at college. Meanwhile, Here's a picture byChilde Hassam. It looks like the French piece we had to analyze in lesson 1: How to Look at Painting

Pink Shoes 

Every where I go people love my pink shoes. This is the second best pair of shoes I've ever had in terms of sheer fun.
The other great pair was a pair of neon green sandals I had in college.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Spring Cleaning 

Today I got the last of my pieces washed, dried and packed away since I had them displayed for the Mt Dora Show. Two pieces were ruined and another 2 need repair to the painted insides where the price sticker stuck too hard. Easy fixes. In all I had made 16 pieces in one month for this sale. I am in good shape for the April show in Sorrento.

Jake and the Z club boys worked all day on their cars.

Since it was cold outside, I worked on spring housekeeping in the studio and in the house, then made sausage and sauerkraut for dinner.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Bluemner and Mosaics 

Do mosaics and the artwork of Oscar Bluemner have anything in common?

Mosaic artists working in smalti could copy Bluemner’s work since their glass comes in a wide enough range of colors. I would be extremely hard pressed to find enough color variety in glazes/glazewear to replicate a Bluemner design.

But mosaics and Bluemner have a lot in common.

First, the color impact draws you in. The first impression of both types of work is color. You’ll like it or not like it in the first 2 seconds.

Second, line moves the eye in both types of art. Good mosaics aren’t static and use either color or andamento to move the eye around.

Third, a lot of planning and a lot of steps are required to pull off a “good” one. I grew up watching television artist, Bob Ross create an oil painting in 30 minutes. I assumed VanGogh painted this way too. Duh!

Thanks to Bluemner, and the education about his life and work that Stetson is offering, I am learning what it takes to create a good painting. Bluemner did on site sketches, pencil or charcoal drawings in the studio to work out light and shadow, watercolor preliminaries and only then would he paint the oil. Holy Moly!

In mosaics I’ve learned that you’d better think all the way through to how to finish the edges before you ever seat the first tile. Working it out on paper, or at least having a check with a measuring tape has saved me quite a few hours of back tracking.

I guess that’s a fourth thing both arts have in common. They look deceptively easy, but they’re not.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Mystic Harbor CT by Oscar Bluemner 

Bluemner for Blumenthal 

Jake and I trotted over to the Duncan this morning. It was a delight to be greeted by Helen at the steps of the museum. It was also nice to see Pedro even if quickly before he dashed off to class. Helen then darted out to meet friends and Jake and I went inside to do our "How to Look at Art" homework.

We each picked a painting and looked at it for 20 minutes. He picked an oil,"Sunset Effect on Rain" while I selected a watercolor "Mystic Harbor, Connecticut". We stared and made notes and took photos.

After 20 minutes, we headed out for Mr Fat Thighs for lunch. Jake got chicken and vegetables. I had actual Phad Thai. Pretty good eats.

Upon arriving home, I had a nice e mail from the dean. We finally got a problem with Helen's financial aid cleared up. Yay!

Finally off to the Y to work out the fat thighs. It was a very nice day.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Flamingo Tile Company 

A to Z Handyman came by today. He successfully replaced the ceiling fan on the front porch. He inspected the bathroom and determined that my bathroom floor has to be replaced. Is this good news or bad news?

That floor is 4” yellow hex tile from Flamingo Tile Company. It would date to about 1970. Flamingo Tile Company is long gone.It is not even a part of Florida Tile Company as best I can research.

Is it time to take it up and use it in mosaics? Is it time to take it up and sell it on the vintage tile market? Should I take it out and clean it and reset it? I don’t know yet.

I want a plumber to come and find the leaks in the toilet and the sink and replace all the valves. Should I do that then tackle the floor? Or should I have a restoration person come in and gut the thing all at once? This is obviously going to take a committee for the decision.

Budget is a big concern because I accepted a bid to paint the house today, too. Meanwhile I really don’t have to deal with the floor till it falls through, do I?

Fall through is exactly what happened in that bathroom when the shower had an invisible leak. One morning, my nekkid self stepped into the stall and it gave way. That’ll jazz up a morning.

Hmmmm, I guess I can’t risk having the toilet collapse one day. I’d better make some phone calls for some restoration bids.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Nearly Nekkid People at the Y 

By Golly, there IS something worse than nekkid people statues.

Today at the YMCA, it was “Nearly-Nekkid People Exercise Day”.

I had read in a book about exhibitionists giving peep shows at health clubs, but until today I had not seen any. Today there was not one but two! A Bonanza of nekkidness.

There was a young teenager, high school age. This chicky had a pair of “shorts” on that were obscene. If she had had on a bikini bottom, she’d have been more decently dressed. And her mother was with her!

The front of these shorts was so low that one more centimeter and we’d have been seeing the crack. She had a pierced belly button with an ear-ring(?) that dangled. The bottom of the dangle down thing seemed to be a full 6 inches above the top of the shorts.

In the back, the shorts were cut high. She was “smiling” at everybody as she moved from machine to machine. She was also advertising for Puffs marshmallows. I guess. Cheeky!

The old geezers were having a hay day. They were tripping over themselves to get positioned for a close up look. One geezer almost fell off of his elliptical bike. There was major neck strain at the YMCA.

Simultaneously, there was a 20 year old babe on a Precor. This one was wearing skin tight WHITE pants. Her crack was as plain as the Grand Canyon. It was revolting.

By Golly, next time this goes on, I am going to take off my shirt and hurt these people. They need to see some obese granny flab a’bouncing on the treadmill, don’t you think? I bet then someone would enact a cover-up rule! GRRRR!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Oh My God!...Look At That Butt! 

Art museums should slam the door, lower the portcullis, and raise the drawbridge when they see me coming. I should not be allowed in. I am nobody’s art critic. I am pathetic.

When I walk in the door of an art museum, what I see falls into 5 categories:
1. Wow!
2. Pretty!
3. Nice.
4. Oh my.
5. Oh my God. What were they thinking?!

To try to improve, I signed up for a class called “How to Look at Art.”
It is taught by Art Blumenthal at Rollins College. Art seems like a professional art looker- atter. Everyone speaks in hushed tones around Art who prefers to be called Arthur. One lady calls him Dr. Blumenthal. Heady.

For a month Arthur is going to try to teach me and a room full of people like me how to look at paintings, sculpture and prints. He says he has taught over 600 people how to do it. So far so good.

Then Arthur says the first step is to suspend my opinions. SUSPEND MY OPINIONS! Who does he think he’s dealing with here? I am nothing but opinion, good God! This will be futile. Still, I’ll pretend. Maybe I’ll grow into it or something.

After we suspend our opinion, we are to follow the Steps… (Am I at AA? Step 1. Admit I am powerless over art, that my life has become unmanageable?)

The Steps to Look at Art.

1. What is your first impression?
2. Describe what it is?
3. What do you see?
4. What is the recapitulation, summary.

Now Arthur leads us through an example to show us how it’s done.

He picks a painting by some French guy who lived about the time of Van Gogh. Sorry I forgot to get the name. The guy paints blobby pictures of people in little clusters having tea parties in the garden. There is even some fancy French word for “having a tea party” style, but hell, all I can think is that this picture looks like a muddy mess. I tell myself to get a grip…get past opinion…think!

Okay, okay, wait, This picture has interesting peach colored blotches. No.no! It looks like a picture of a tree I saw by Childe Hassam.

Nargh! I am going to fail. But wait it gets worse…

A student is selected to try the technique on a second painting. The painting is unveiled and I immediately recognize it as a Gary Bolding! I’m dead.

Gary Bolding was the art professor guy sitting behind me at the Bluemner lecture 4 days ago giving me anxiety about my lack of hair-do. The last thing in the world you want is a color expert looking at your roots!

Focus, I tell myself. Step 1. First Impression…I like the blue. It’s got some nice blue and mustard yellow colors going on.

Boy, I’m getting it now. However, the student is going on and on about the themes of consumerism as religion. Arhurt is turning an odd turquoise color. It seems she’s as wrong to go off on interpretation as I am to go off into art history.

Arthur wants the picture analyzed. He wants just the facts. Jake says “patent description”. I get it.

Jake says his first impression of the Bolding piece is “crisp”. He wanders away from the group to look at a picture of some fisher men.

But wait it gets worse…there is one more picture for another student to try.

It is unveiled. It is a tryptich. Thank God, I don’t know the artist so I can’t go off into art history. However my first impression is…”Oh look. The guy paints nekkid blue people just like Helen makes nekkid blue people statues.”

The student describes and describes and describes, etc, etc, etc, shut up already. How much can you say about mirrors and nekkid people?!!! Jake is looking for an exit to smoke a cigar.

But wait there’s homework. We are to visit a museum this week and look at one piece of art for 20 minutes. Then we are to write out the steps. One page. Typed. Single spaces.

This is going to be harder than I thought!

Here is one of Gary's paintings to look at. Not the one selected for analysis by art dummies.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Water Damage 

This was the third dismal morning in a row. Chilly, overcast, drippy, it was just so icky. By noon-thirty the sun was out and the temperatures were nearing 80 again.

My mosaics stayed out in the rain the last 3 days. They are after all, waterproof. This afternoon, I gathered them all into the studio where they will get washed, dried and wrapped up till the next show in April.

As I collected them, I found that 2 had been ruined. “Half Green/Half Blue” and “Miss Jewel” had dark stains in the grout. Water had run off the roof onto these 2. I will plant them up for my own garden and create clones for sale.

Tomorrow I will select 2 new pots to go to the gallery. I have to go by there and get paid for the 2 that sold last week.

Here's Half/Green Half Blue with Yipes Stripes


I had put the litle map up on my blog. But Lavasoft kept picking up 3 data miners. I just took the map down and the data miners, or "bots", are gone. Grrrrr!

My back is giving me fits this morning. I am waiting for the Advil to kick in so I can move a little more fluidly...as in turn my head to drive a car! Then I will hit the road to the Post Office. Grrr.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Ian's game is fun but ... 

Ian's game seems to be sending spy bots.

More Liquid Sunshine 

Today was wet and dismal…no stoppers, lookers, not even much traffic driving down the road. Well, better luck next time.

It’s still raining. But a lot of things happened to make me smile anyway.

Ted and Denise stopped by last night. They look so good, so happy. They made me happy by letting me send them home with fast food to go. Hope they enjoyed the chicken!

Today, Cat came over to get info about book construction for an art assignment. I fixed her up with cambric, PVA glue and a couple of sets of boards to create the covers. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Jake made a HUGE flower out of steel. The blossom is 4 ft across. He’s going to have to rig it with the tractor to get it onto the base. Then it will stand 7 ft high!. It’s going to be awesome! Maybe he will join me at Sorrento this spring???

I added pieces to “Bird House” this afternoon, but have spent most of the day doing first of the month bill paying, statement balancing, tax organizing, etc. Tomorrow is bank/post office loop day.

Today I checked the Blogwise directory under “Mosaics”. I’m no longer the only one on the page…hooray. Check out Deb’s Web.

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